Shorebirds killed in posted area
Monday, July 11, 2011
Media contact: Gabriella B. Ferraro (FWC), 772-215-9459;
Nancy Richie, Environmental Specialist, city of Marco Island, 239-389-5003
Even though the nesting areas were clearly posted, a number of
imperiled shorebird chicks were killed at protected sites on Marco
Island beaches over the July 4th holiday weekend. Tracks
in the sand indicate an unleashed dog likely killed black skimmer
chicks in the posted Critical Wildlife Area (CWA) of Sand Dollar
Beach, where dogs are prohibited.
Black skimmers are listed in Florida as a species of special
concern. Their population is declining, largely the result of
development along Florida's coastline.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)
reminds the public that shorebird nesting areas are protected and
that disturbing the nests, eggs or chicks is illegal.
"Shorebirds lay well-camouflaged eggs directly on the sand,
making them nearly invisible to the untrained human eye," said FWC
biologist Lindsay Nester. "Any disturbance by people, pets or
vehicles - accidental or otherwise - can lead to death of young
It is a violation of state and federal laws to harass or take
any protected birds, their eggs or young. Pet owners are
responsible for ensuring their pets do not enter posted areas.
"The welfare of these nesting animals is largely dependent upon
a sense of community stewardship and responsibility," said Nancy
Richie, Environmental Specialist with the city of Marco Island. "An
incident like this is a blow to the declining population of black
skimmers and to the members of the local volunteer organizations
who work hard to help post and monitor shorebird nesting sites
around the state."
Citizens are encouraged to report violations to the FWC Wildlife
Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922. Those reporting violations may